Bone Solid

Orthopedic program restores function and independence.

On Thanksgiving Day 2017, Dante*, 26, didn’t feel much like celebrating. That day, Dante was the victim in a hit-and-run car accident that left him seriously injured.

“The driver essentially sideswiped my car into a pole,” Dante describes. “It resulted in me having a severe femur fracture up by my right hip. The local hospital couldn’t do anything for me, so they sent me to a trauma hospital where I had surgery.

Dante (alias) fractured his right femur near his hip in a car accident and went through rehabilitation at Encompass Treasure Coast Rehabilitation Hospital in Vero Beach, where he regained mobility and function.

“I had to learn how to walk all over again, but after five days of rehabilitation, I could.” – Dante

“After surgery, they let me try to walk, but I couldn’t. They said it would take time for me to walk again. I had to get my foot back to normal because I had foot drop. I also wasn’t able to bend my knee, crouch, put on my socks or do things of that nature. I had trouble just moving my leg.”

The staff at the hospital told Dante he needed rehabilitation to regain full mobility. He chose Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Treasure Coast, formerly HealthSouth, for his care.

Working as a Team

Dante was evaluated upon arrival at Encompass, where it was determined he required full rehabilitation services to regain mobility and function. At Encompass, patients with orthopedic disorders achieve their goals by participating in a program that uses a team approach.

“We have a team of providers delivering services to patients in the program,” confirms Dawn Bucaj, RN, BSN, senior rehab liaison at Encompass. “A typical team includes case managers, nurses, occupational and physical therapists, rehab physicians and primary care physicians. A team like this worked with Dante.”

The team decided Dante needed physical and occupational therapy to help him better perform activities of daily living. He also required time working on the advanced equipment used to return patients to walking.

Kelly Shields, CRTT, is the orthopedic navigator at Encompass. As part of her job, she aids patients as they progress through the program.

“I work with the physicians and case managers for patients in the orthopedic program,” Kelly explains. “I evaluate patients at all stages and make sure they’re at the correct level of care.

“During Dante’s orthopedic rehabilitation, he became a candidate for much of our technology, including the AutoAmbulator®. This is a sophisticated treadmill device that uses the concept of therapeutic waves. He also used the MOTOmed®, a machine for patients with restricted movement that promotes walking.”

Dawn notes that patients with orthopedic disorders can enter Encompass’s program from home through self-referral or the referral of a family member or advocate. Those with acute injuries like Dante’s typically enter from a hospital.

“Either way, it’s important that patients and families ask for Encompass by name,” she stresses.

Mobility and Independence

Dante stayed at Encompass for less than a week, but in that short time, he regained significant mobility and function in his right leg and hip.

“Every day, I had three or four therapy sessions, and I progressed very quickly,” Dante says. “I pretty much had to learn how to walk all over again, but after five days of rehabilitation, I could.

“When I was done with my therapy, I was able to do most things on my own again. I could go to the bathroom on my own, walk up and down stairs, get in and out of cars and put on my socks by myself.

“I wasn’t allowed to walk out the door when I left the hospital. I had to go in a wheelchair. But as soon as I was out the door, I walked the rest of the way. Rehabilitation at Encompass Treasure Coast Rehabilitation Hospital gave me back my independence. They were awesome.”

*Patient’s name changed at his request.
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